Spring, London, Tips, Hotel

Melita Travel Tips: How To Pack For London In The Spring!

Spring, London, Tips, Hotel

London is beautiful place to visit at any time of the year, there’s always something new to see and do regardless of the weather.  However, there’s something quite refreshing about the city in spring.  One thing that makes London stand out as a city is that it does have plenty of green open spaces and in springtime these areas are bursting into life!

The Melita is ideally placed for you to capture all the wonders of spring in London.  A townhouse, situated in a quiet and leafy suburban street in Pimlico, you could be forgiven for forgetting just how close to the city sights you are when you see the blossoming trees outside your room window.

You are, in fact, walking distance away from some of London’s most iconic parks, St James’s, Green and Hyde Parks are minutes away from your comfy room.  These are the places to really appreciate spring kicking into action in the capital.

But what exactly is London like in the Springtime?  England is of course famous worldwide for its inclement weather, but what are the best things to bring along with you to survive?  What do you need to know to escape the likely monsoon and the freezing temperatures?  What is going to make your life easier on your trip?  Read on for some top tips.

 

Water Repellant Coats and Clothes (And Umbrellas!)

OK, let’s tackle the weather thing straight away.  In London it is unusual for it to be very hot which I’m sure you know?  But what you may not know is that it is also unusual for it to be very cold either.  You may disagree if you come from a particularly hot climate of course, but the truth is temperature wise on most days it is neither one thing or another.

On very rare occasions in springtime you may get a particularly hot day.  In these cases remember that air conditioning on public transport in England is still a rarity and that overdressing when travelling may make you very uncomfortable.  In fact, central London tubes are warm all year round.

It is unlikely you will get any extremely cold days in London in springtime, the only exception may be at the very beginning of March.  The coldest days are seen between December and February, with the latter being a particularly cold month.  It’s true to say that you won’t find many Londoners dressing for the cold during springtime.

What you will need however, is something to keep the rain off.  In England it rains, a lot.  Ever heard of the ‘April Showers’?  Well, you’ll definitely know them by the time you leave!  Every Londoner carries an umbrella and most will have a raincoat on or stashed about their person in springtime.

Bring plenty of waterproof clothing to London in the spring, like the fairground rides state, “You Will Get Wet!’.

 

Bring a Smartphone or Camera with Plenty of Memory

London is apparently the selfie capital of the world.  One survey found that 14% of all selfies across social media channels had London as a back drop.  That’s not surprising considering how much there is to see here.  Using the Melita Hotel as your base you are ideally placed for fantastic photo opportunities at all of the great London landmarks.

Buckingham Palace is just a walk away and Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the Tower of London, Piccadilly Circus, Tower Bridge and many more are just minutes away on the tube.

With all of these fantastic things to take pictures of you’re going to need plenty of memory.  Springtime is a lovely time to take some amazing pictures of London, don’t leave anything to chance!

London, Spring, Hotel

UK Plug adaptors

If you’re coming from out of the country, here’s a tip for all year round.  The UK has different plug sockets to what you’d find in the US, Europe, Australia, South Africa and a great deal of Asia.  The solid three pin system is fairly unique, make sure you don’t get caught out.

 

Street and Tube Map

Gone are the days of having to lug around a cumbersome A-Z and trying to figure out where to go on the tube using a map on the back of a small ticket wallet.  This is great, as in London your A-Z could end up getting distinctly soggy in springtime.  Now you have no excuses getting lost as they are all available on your smartphone.

The tube map will be of fantastic use during your stay at the Melita.  You are minutes away from Victoria underground station and from there you can reach just about any sight you want to see in London.

 

Two Pairs of Shoes – Comfortable & Smart

I’m sure some ladies will ignore this advice and you are more than welcome to bring as many shoes as you desire of course.  Our advice would be to bring one pair of comfy shoes to walk about in and one pair of smart shoes for going out in.

Although the Melita Hotel is ideally placed for all public transport in London, you do have to be prepared to do a lot of walking around, as you would on any city adventure.  Make sure you have shoes that are not only comfortable to have on all day, but that are also waterproof. Did I mention that it sometimes rains in London?  Trainers may or may not be suitable, depending on the type.

London has some beautiful restaurants and clubs that your walking boots may look out of place in.  If you plan on going somewhere a bit posh, packing smart shoes may also be a good idea.

London is an appealing destination at any time of year.  Warm summers spent lying in the numerous parks, autumn evenings wondering around London’s plentiful pubs and bars, holiday time with it’s traditional Christmas celebrations and finally spring, where London comes to life after its long drawn out winter.

There is no better place to appreciate Springtime in London than in the surroundings of the comfortable, family run Melita Hotel.


Top Ten Selfie Spots near The Melita Hotel, London

London is often cited as one of the most picturesque tourist cities in the world.  With a history dating back hundreds of years intertwined seamlessly with the trappings of a modern metropolis it’s easy to see why.

London is also considered by some as the selfie capital of the world.  A recent survey found that an incredible 14 percent of selfies on social media platforms are taken in front of well known London monuments.

When you stay at The Melita you are not just residing in the middle of the UK’s capital, you are also ideally placed to capture some of the world’s most iconic selfies!  But where to start?  Start by taking a selfie in front of the beautiful townhouse hotel that is The Melita, of course.  Then perhaps move on to some off these.

Hotel London, Best

 

1.)Tower Bridge

London, Tower Bridge

The king of London selfies!  Now, just to be clear, Tower Bridge is the one with the towers at either end that occasionally lifts up in the middle.  It is NOT London Bridge which, although it’s nice enough, just doesn’t quite have the same selfie appeal.

London Bridge IS however, a decent place to take a selfie of Tower Bridge.  A better place is from numerous spots along the South Bank.

 

2.)The Tower of London

Now we’re talking proper history.  Shift along the South Bank a little further and you’ll get a good shot of the magnificent Tower of London.  Venture into it and you’ll find many more selfie opportunities, including one with the friendly Beefeaters.

Remember however, no selfies allowed with the Crown Jewels or you may just end up locked in the Tower with them!

 

3.)Buckingham Palace

Within walking distance of your comfortable room at the Melita Hotel is the Queen’s very own comfortable home.  A selfie in front of the gates is a firm favourite as is an action one in front of the changing of the guards ceremony.

This is one of the places where you can see the stern and unsmiling Queen’s Guard with their distinctive red uniforms and bearskin hats.  Don’t forget, these guys are no Beefeaters.  They are at work and armed, keep your distance!

 

4.)Red Telephone Box

There are numerous selfie opportunities here, although to be honest in this instance a selfie probably won’t give you the best shot.  See how many you can find and see what other London landmarks you can fit in the background.  In Westminster you can get Big Ben or Westminster Abbey in the shot, time it right and you could get a black cab in too!

See how many phone boxes you can get in one shot (tip – Board Court in Covent Garden has five in a row).  For those phone box geeks out there, there is actually more than one design for the iconic red phone box, how many can you find?

 

5.)Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament

We’ve already mentioned these but they are worth another mention as they’re literally just two tube stops away from The Melita Hotel.

After Tower Bridge, Big Ben is probably the second most popular true selfie shot in London.  Not quite as funny as pretending you are holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa with one finger, but positioning Big Ben between your thumb and forefinger is still going to be absolutely hilarious.

Find a pedantic Londoner and they will tell you it’s actually called Elizabeth Tower, Big Ben is just the name of the bell inside.

 

6.)Piccadilly Circus and Regent Street

Okay, so it’s no Times Square in terms of neon, but we love it and it’s still an iconic location.  Get a double decker bus going past the billboards and you’ve got yourself a postcard perfect selfie.  The statue of Eros is also a good shot to add to your collection.

If you navigate yourself to the beginning of Regent Street there is also a great shot you can take as the buildings curve round the corner on either side of the road.  The best selfie shot has you standing in the middle of the road.  You just have to not mind getting a bit run over.

 

7.)King’s Cross Platform 93/4

Kings Cross London

This does exist, sort of!  Eagle eyed and die hard Harry Potter fans might notice that the film’s exterior shots are actually of St Pancras station, rather than the far less attractive King’s Cross station.  But don’t worry, St Pancras is right across the street for that exterior selfie.

The platform is not actually a platform, more of a sign on the wall with a trolly embedded in it.  But somebody is on hand to dress you up in a cloak and a Gryffindor scarf and take a professional picture if you want one.

Both stations are accessed from the same tube station, just a tube ride away from the Melita, you don’t even have to change lines!

 

8.)The Shard

The tallest building in the United Kingdom and Western Europe, the Shard sits on the South Bank and towers over the rest of London.  OK, so visitors from the US and the Middle East may have taller buildings in their local villages but this is Europe and in Europe it’s massive!

It isn’t the tallest building on the planet but you can crouch down and get the whole thing in on one glorious selfie shot.  Yes, it may fit three times into the Burj Khalifa, but try getting the whole of the Burj Khalifa in a photo along with your head!

 

9.)The London Eye

Built to celebrate the millennium before turning into a modern London icon in its own right, the London Eye is a perfect location for multiple selfies.

We don’t mean position yourself in various locations around it and take pictures with it in the background, no, you actually have to get on it!

Once you do you can spot practically every famous landmark from a unique position, as well as seeing the contrast between London City, and the sprawling but flat South London.

 

10.)Madame Tussauds

London is full of celebrities, wander about long enough and you’re bound to see someone famous, but it goes without saying that they may not be overly keen in having a selfie with you!  If you want a guaranteed celebrity selfie then the most famous waxworks in the world may be a good choice of location.

Less than ten minutes on the tube from your base at The Melita Hotel, not only can you take a selfie with Kim Kardashian, but you could actually be in her selfie.  Are you one of the people who don’t know (or care) what a Kardashian is?  Don’t worry, there’s plenty more people to get up close and personal with.  A picture with the Queen or Darth Vader?  Perhaps a close up with James Bond or The Hulk?

It won’t take you long to realise why London is the selfie capital of the world, especially if you stay at The Melita Hotel.  All of the above are literally minutes away from your comfortable room!

 

 


The Best Shopping Experiences Within A Tubes Ride Away From The Melita

 

Whether it’s part of a family holiday or a weekend away with the girls, you’ll struggle to find a better place than London for an unforgettable shopping experience.

London is synonymous with big brands as well as niche shops you won’t find anywhere else in the world.  Some of the shops in London are part of the very fabric of the city and some of the shopping arcades are the oldest in the world.

The Melita Hotel is a family run hotel situated in a quiet, leafy area of the city with a suburban feel.  But don’t let this fool you!  The hotel is just a nine-minute walk from Victoria station.  You can go from the comfort of your bed to the shops in less than twenty minutes (but make sure you leave a bit of time for our fantastic english breakfast, you’ll certainly need the energy!).

 

Oxford Street

Oxford_Street_December_2006

What better place to start than the most popular shopping area in Europe?  There are over 300 shops in this area plus hundreds of places to eat and drink.

After your walk from the Melita to Victoria station, it is a ten-minute journey to the centre of your Oxford Street shopping experience, Oxford Circus.  If you’re already out and about in London, then it is accessible from many more stations including: Bond St; Marble Arch; Piccadilly Circus and Tottenham Court Road.

This is the place to shop if you are looking for big brands, Top Shop, Marks and Spencer, Next and John Lewis all have flagship stores here and you will find that most major retailers are represented in some way.

One word of warning, approximately half a million people trudge along Oxford Street daily, so it’s not for the claustrophobic!

It is on this famous street you can also find one of the world’s most famous shops, as discussed below.

 

Selfridges

3003339_Selfridges-Oxford-Street-Photo-Credit-Andrew-Meredith

This Oxford Street shop is the second largest store in the UK and is the flagship store for a brand which, in recent years, is now represented in other major cities around the country.

It opened in 1909 and was the brainchild of an American, Harry Gordon Selfridge.  His ideas on shopping were so original and innovative that they justified a British drama series documenting his life.

If you’re a lady and you enjoy shopping, then you probably should thank Mr Selfridge for that.  Through his London Selfridges he introduced the idea that shopping should be fun, that it should be considered a leisure activity rather than a chore that has to be completed.  In Selfridges, he wanted to create a comfortable and safe place that was specifically for the leisure time of women.

Selfridges was one of the first shops to have their products in front of the customers and let them pick them up, feel them and try them on.  They were the first to put the perfume counter on the ground floor at the front of the shop.  Mr Selfridge is also thought to have coined the phrase “The customer is always right”.

When you’re in Oxford Street, don’t forget to visit this historical shopping treat, after all it might be the reason you enjoy shopping so much in the first place?!

 

Harrods

timthumb

We mentioned that Selfridges was the second largest shop in the UK, the largest shop also happens to be the most famous retailer on the planet.

Harrods opened its first shop in its current location in 1849.  It was a small shop in a single room, employing just three people.  It expanded at a phenomenal rate, taking over adjacent shops until it finally became the size it is today.  Harrods now occupies a five-acre plot, has over 330 departments and offers over one million square feet of retail space.

There is not a lot that you can’t buy in this shop, clothes for everybody for every occasion, electronics, some of the most elaborate and expensive jewellery in the world, food and drink, furniture, children’s toys and even pets…!  As of 2009 the store started selling gold bars for purchase off the shelf!

The shop now employs 5,000 staff from over fifty countries, employed to deal with over 300,000 customers daily.

One word of warning, the shop does employ a dress code but is not quite clear on what it is!  It has turned away tracksuit wearers and people with mohicans before now.  Probably best just make sure that you haven’t been playing football in the park beforehand and you’ll be OK!

South Kensington station is just two stops away from the Melita Hotel on the Circle and District Lines from Victoria station.  For a more authentic experience, change at Green Park to arrive at Knightsbridge station, right next to the famous shop.

 

Burlington Arcade

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It is rare nowadays to see another Oxford Street, a continuously expanding, natural urban sprawl.  Instead retail spaces are purpose built, it seems every major town and city has a shopping centre, a mall or an arcade.

But this type of shopping experience isn’t new.  Perhaps the most famous shopping arcade in London, the Burlington Arcade first opened in 1819 and it is only one stop away on the tube from the Melita Hotel.

Bizarrely it wasn’t originally conceived as a ‘new way to shop’.   It was commissioned by a neighbour whose garden wall backed on to a parade of shops.  He was fed up with shoppers throwing litter over his back wall so commissioned an architect to come up with a solution.  The covered Burlington Arcade was born.

A step into the Burlington Arcade is like a step back in time.  You won’t find many household names here, it’s a traditional shopping experience with the outlets themselves being protected monuments.

You’ll find seventy-two outlets, each specialising in either fashion, fragrance or jewellery.  Antique watches are a specialty for some shops, with one offering Rolexes manufactured in every year from the 1920s onwards.

The arcade lurches from the traditional to the quirky in some instances.  Its rules and regulations are enforced by its own tiny police force, The Burlington beadles.  The beadles ensure that all of the old rules are upheld, like, ‘no running in the arcade allowed’ and ‘no unfurled umbrellas’!

Use the Melita Hotel as a base for your London shopping trip for an experience you won’t forget.  After you’ve finished, you could be back in your room, glass of wine in hand celebrating your new purchases within minutes.